Category Archives: vegan

Foraging and the Living Green Vegan Market

So last weekend was a literal foodie-weekend. I was pumped. Excited. Maybe even a little impatient but I was counting down until I could visit foodie-truck heaven Saturday, in The Forage; and then Vegan heaven Sunday at the Living Green Vegan Market.
Both did not disappoint.
The Forage is basically a bunch of local food trucks and cafes, set up in a big circle with some entertainment and then piles of hay bales and rustic tables dotted around to eat your purchases at comfortably. The sun was out and bright and hot on the Saturday and Wee Man and I were able to find parking and walk up to the truckies.
I knew ahead of time that the Forage was catering for those with food intolerances and choices such a gluten free and vegan. So of course it suited me well. I devoured a gluten free crepe with apple, banana and cinnamon, ohhhh it was good!


Wee Man on the other hand went complete opposite and enjoyed a fried chicken waffle cone from Fricken which he loved and was happy to pose with for photos. We also had a Blue Magic pressed juice from Naked Pressed Juice Co, which was literally perfection, I want more of it.
The sun was a stinker and it was a perfect Saturday to be out and about.
The Forage was held outside at the Little National Hotel and was the perfect size for the amount of food trucks and visitors. So luckily the weather was good as any rain would most definitely put a dampener on the event. The really lovely thing about the event was the opening and closing time, an early afternoon beginning of 2pm and a nice early close, in time to get the kids to bed at 7pm. Definitely add to your 2019 list of foodie visits.

 

On Sunday morning we were up early and ready to be at the Living Green Vegan Market for its 10am open. I was worried about parking but luckily was still in luck from the day before and found one easily just outside of Albert Hall where the market was taking place.
There were a multitude of stalls and businesses set up. Some opposing animal cruelty, some in support of orangutans, books stalls, make up and cosmetics and then of course all the foods. Sweet food, savoury, hot, cold, home bakes, cakes, slices and dumplings.
I let Wee Man be treated to S’mores vegan dumplings for breakfast and I had the most delicious raw nori wrap from Organic Energy, which came with an almond dipping sauce.
We purchased some delicious raw slices from Rainbow Nourishments along with some bliss balls. Veganarchy was also at the event and I purchased a couple of gluten free cupcakes.
This was a lovely event, although I did find I was comparing it to World Vegan Day in Melbourne which is a huge larger event so part of me was disappointed with the size and variety but realistically I should just be happy there are vegan events like this to attend.

Again I would be sure to add this to your 2019 foodie list.

Crunchy Polenta Fingers- Chris’ Dips

I love snacking, and I’m always trying to come up with quick and easy foods to create. Especially vegan and vegetarian dishes that are portable and easy to eat on the run.

Polenta is such a versatile food which can be made sweet or savoury.  It can be used to make ‘fries’ or sweetened to make desserts.

For these Polenta snacks I used pre-firmed Polenta which can be purchased in the pasta section of your local supermarket.

You will need:

Half a polenta slab cut into fingers
1/2 container Chris’ Spiced Roasted Carrot and Turmeric Dip
3/4 cup Gluten Free bread crumbs

Slather each finger in the dip- I used a spoon to make this easier and then dunk them in the bread crumbs so they are completely covered.

Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake in a fan forced oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins to half an hour until the fingers are browned.

Leave to cool once cooked and then enjoy them dipped into more of Chris’ Dip or a plain Greek yoghurt. 

I made these gluten free to tie in with the dip and I also had a friend coming over who was gluten intolerant.
These would work well with quinoa instead of the breadcrumbs or even a cheese mixed in with the breadcrumbs.

These can be enjoyed warmed or cold.  For pre-heating do this in an oven as a microwave will leave them soggy.

Cauliflower Pizza

I’ve wanted to experiment with a Cauliflower Pizza base for a while now and it turned out pretty darn amazing.
My whole family enjoyed it and have requested it multiple times since.
I’ve now made a bunch of bases and frozen them for future use!
You will need-
1 whole head of cauliflower
1 cup grated cheese- I made this vegan and used Bio Cheese
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano and chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
Your choice of pizza toppings
1 clean tea towel

In a food processor blitz the chopped up cauliflower head until it resembles crumbs.
Place the blended cauliflower into the clean tea towel and twist the open end of the towel so it forms a ball- do this over a sink or bowl as the aim is to remove as much liquid from the cauliflower and create a dry (or as dry as possible) cauliflower mix.
 
 
Once you have squeezed as much as you can from the cauliflower transfer it to a bowl and add the flour, spices, salt and cheese.
Using your hands combine everything and knead it into a ball.
 
 
 
Place the ball onto a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper.
Press the mix into large disk- this is your pizza base.
I made mine about 1cm thick.
Bake at 180 degrees in a pre-heated over for 30 minutes or until browned.
You will find the base is still a little soft but it will firm up even more once you have added your toppings.
 Remove from the oven and cover with your favourite pizza toppings- I went with a low calorie salsa over the base topped with fresh basil from the garden and more bio cheese.
Bake again at 180 degrees until the toppings have cooked and melted.
Eat and enjoy!

John’s Nuts

Nuts are a great source of essential nutrients, dietary fibre and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.
A small handful of nuts can provide much needed health benefits and can actually aid in weight loss.

Roasted? Salted? Raw?

Raw nuts are always best, just like fruits and vegetables, keeping foods in their natural state do hold more nutrients for the body.

Roasted and salted nuts are just as good, although best to limit or avoid if you’re concerned about sodium content.

Nuts contain health-promoting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and can help regulate cholesterol.

Being naturally low in sodium, and with high potassium levels, nuts can also assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The perfect place for all your nutty-needs is at a variety-packed John’s Nuts  kiosk at your local shopping centre.

John’s Nuts stock everything. No, I’m not even exaggerating. For the sweet tooth- we all have one, or ten- there’s Turkish Delights, Chocolate Covered Sultanas, Nougat, Baklava and Chocolate Covered Raspberries. 

If it’s just a snack you’re after or nibbles needed for your next party there’s plenty to choose from at John’s. What about some delicious soy crisps (get the honey soy!!), nut bars, salted nut mixes or even cheesy flavoured cashews? 

The dried fruit range is diverse with paw paw, pineapple, dates, prunes, figs, mixed lots and sultanas.

My favourite range is the plain nuts. Although it’s not easy to decide what to fill your bag with; almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and macadamias. I spent a while trying to decide what I wanted to take home, and what was most likely to actually make it home! There’s a few mixed types to choose from too, including chocolate and nut mixes.

The prices are good value at John’s Nuts and it’s possible to choose a range of goodies without feeling you’ve over-spent. I walked away with, medjool dates, macadamias, raw cashews, vanilla bean cashews, honey soy crisps & healthy nut bars.

You will be impressed by the customer service at John’s Nuts too. The staff are friendly, talkative and great with recommendations.  Special mention to Paul at Waverley Gardens, fresh faced and genuine with his customers. It’s down to earth service that’s rare to see.

I hope you’ll get the chance to browse and buy from the John’s range. 
Be sure to visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram:
John’s Nuts.

Healthy Nutella

Homemade is always better than processed, packaged foods. Making foods yourself allows sugar and fat control. Along with what ingredients you wish to incorporate.

I decided on my version of Nutella as I was craving something sweet, but also didn’t want the added empty calories.

You will need:
2 cups raw unshelled hazelnuts
4 tbs unsweetened cocoa
2 tbs honey
3 tbs melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius and spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes. You will know the nuts are ready when you see the skins flaking.
Let the hazelnuts cool and them rub them between a couple of sheets of paper towel to remove the skins. You may have to do this one handful at a time.

Place the nuts into a food processor and blend until the nuts create a thick butter. They will begin to release their natural oils and become liquidy.

Once creamy add the coconut oil, honey & cocoa. I used Manuka honey for added health benefits but agave or brown rice syrups would work just as well if you’re vegan.

Add any extra sweetener to your taste.

Your ‘Nutella’ will store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Leave at room temperature before spreading!

Nutrition Station

Have you visited the Nutrition Station at Doncaster Shopping Centre?

If you haven’t get down there & check them out!

The customer service is outstanding & the staff were more than happy to show off their range of products & explain to me their food & drink options. The gentleman working brought out menus of their regular food products- unfortunately their supplier was closed over the Christmas period so there wasn’t any meals to sample, but the variety was huge!

 

Nutrition Station also have a loyalty program that works on a points system, for every dollar spent. Trust me, it will be easy to spend dollars at this place as Nutrition Station cater for literally all your health needs! 

The menu displays a vast variety of basic shakes, smoothies, foods & prepacked meals. 

There’s a decent selection of Vegan Smoothies- I chose the Vegan Vigor- protein, coconut water, raw multi powder, walnuts, chia seeds, cinnamon, berries & banana. The drink was well priced and of decent size.

All calories & protein are listed on each menu item for all sizes which is great of you’re on a macro budget.
There’s some delicious acai bowls & frozen protein yoghurts to chose from too.

The Nutrition Station is young, vibrant & has a fresh feeling about it. The menu is inviting & the staff passionate about what they’re doing. Hopefully this company will pop up at more shopping centres in Melbourne, giving those looking for better, healthier options the chance to indulge in something great tasting & nutritional.

Oliver’s Real Food

Oliver’s is the kinda place that you want to see at every shopping centre, every airport & at every servo. These guys are making healthy, quick, nutritious food accessible.  Unfortunately the only downfall at the moment is that it takes an eTag to visit them, something I don’t have…

So I bought an east link day pass and proceeded along the Ferntree Gully road on-ramp to go out of my way to stop for petrol (only to exit via the next off ramp- Oliver’s is in between).

There’s nothing like seeing a line of people, mainly tradies and men in business suits, lining up for their edamame & freshly squeezed juices. I can’t say much for the parents lining up at Ronald’s ( Ohhh is that too obvious?) for, as my son calls it- Fatty Fat Food.

Three young guys were maning Oliver’s and they were all over the customer service. Using my name they reiterated my order, called me over when my Choconana Smoothie & almond milk latte was ready & even offered me some muesli bar samples.

The set up of Oliver’s is pleasing to the eye, collections of lifestyle & nutritional books are on display, along with their varieties of sandwiches, prepared salads, juices & my FAVOURITE- Pana Chocolate (!!!).

There’s a huge selection of gluten free foods, including toast, muffins, slices and brownie options.
There’s also vegan & vegetarian food & drinks available too.

The menu is diverse and doesn’t just have a handful of items. 
Breakfast, lunch & dinner can easily be purchased & the service is quick & friendly.
The staff were more than happy to make suggestions & go through any allergen information.

Oliver’s provide three seperate menus- a standard menu, allergen menu & then a brochure broken down into Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free & Dairy Free. These guides make food choices, easy. I purchased a fruit salad with coconut flakes, almond milk latte, smoothie & carrot cake. Everything was enjoyable & the carrot cake the best I’ve ever eaten.
If you’re eating with kids & they’re not going to be satiated with a smoothie or juice the ‘kids menu’ at Oliver’s is actually kid suitable. There’s nothing deep fried, nothing processed & no fries!
A kids pack includes a little sandwich- yes with crusts- sultanas, yoghurt, cheese, crackers, carrot & banana bread. Perfection. Honestly, we should be cherishing our kids bodies & nourishing them, not filling them with highly processed, fat laden foods.

Oliver’s isn’t about the latest fad or diet, nor are they about pushing food choices onto their customers. I think Oliver’s is just living up to their name- Real Food. 
Nutritious, flavoursome, natural, organic foods. 
The better foods that fill your body, the better you will feel & the better choices you will make.

Oliver’s is ground breaking. They’re providing foods that are readily available & making their mark in the ‘fast’ food industry. Oliver’s is ‘fast food’ because it’s easy, simple food. It’s not traditional, it’s natural.
Support this company, and what they’re doing. Embrace the changes & competition they’re bringing to healthy, convenient food.

Visit http://www.oliversrealfood.com.au for locations & franchise opportunities 
or search Oliver’s Real a Food on Facebook.